Foreign Office grants Indefinite Leave to Remain to mother of British Embassy workers in Kabul and agrees to pay indemnity costs

Thursday 29 February 2024

Our Helen Foot and Emma Fitzsimons successfully represented the Claimants in R (AA and RA) v Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs AC-2023-LON-002498, instructed by Tori Sicher of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors.

Share This Page

Email This Page

The Claimants challenged a decision of the Defendant Secretary of State that the Claimant, AA, was not eligible for resettlement to the UK under the ARAP Additional Family Members scheme. AA is the 68-year old mother of two Afghan citizens and former employees of the British Embassy in Kabul who have indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK under ARAP. She has schizophrenia and resides in Turkey on a temporary visa. AA is at risk of deportation from Turkey to Afghanistan, where she is at risk from the Taliban due to her children’s former work for the UK Government.

The Claimants argued that the Secretary of State’s decision that AA was not eligible for relocation under the ARAP Additional Family Members scheme was irrational and failed to take into account material evidence, including psychiatric evidence and country expert evidence of the risk to AA from the Taliban.

On 26 February 2024, two days before trial, the Secretary of State agreed to grant ILR to AA Outside the Immigration Rules and for HM Government to arrange, on an exceptional basis, AA’s travel to the UK from Turkey. The Secretary of State also agreed to pay the Claimants’ costs since 31 January 2024 on the indemnity basis.

The Secretary of State relied on closed material in the proceedings, i.e. material which, if disclosed, would be damaging to the interests of national security. Earlier in the litigation, Swift J ordered the Secretary of State to pay the Claimant’s costs, also on the indemnity basis, occasioned by applications by the Secretary of State in December 2023 to extend the time to serve the closed material.

Swift J also made a general direction that “any application to vary any direction made in any ARAP-related High Court case involving the closed material procedure, made by the Secretary of State for Defence or another Secretary of State for the benefit of the Secretary of State for Defence, shall be supported by a witness statement made by a civil servant of appropriate seniority. The statement shall as a minimum) explain (a) what has happened since the direction to be varied is made such that compliance with it is no longer possible; and (b) the reasons for the extension of time requested; and (c) the reasons why it is believed that the Secretary of State will be able to comply with the proposed amended direction.”

The Secretary of State has appealed to the Court of Appeal against Swift J’s general order.

Related Areas of Law

We are top ranked by independent legal directories and consistently win awards.

+ View more awards